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The countries where Russia’s shadowy Wagner Group mercenaries operate

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  • Two members of the Wagner Group were arrested in November on allegations of spying. The two men were reportedly meeting with Saif Gaddafi, the son of ousted dictator Muammar Gaddafi, in an effort to bring the younger Gaddafi back to power in Libya. 
  • The Wagner Group is a mercenary group that’s been closely linked to supporting Russian objectives in conflict zones.

In April 2018, then-CIA Director Mike Pompeo confirmed that the US killed hundreds of Russians during a large firefight in Syria in early February. 

“In Syria now, a handful of weeks ago, the Russians met their match,” Pompeo said. “A couple hundred Russians were killed.”

The Russians were part of Wagner Group, or Vagner Group, a private mercenary group reportedly contracted by the Syrian government to capture and secure oil and gas fields from ISIS.

The Wagner Group started getting attention in 2014 when its mercenaries fought alongside Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine, before moving to Syria.

Here’s what we know about the areas where these mercenaries are operating, and what they’re doing there.

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